Helpless JVP turns to expatriate vote
The JVP, after its poor performance at the recent Provincial Council
elections have realised that its political bankruptcy would be fully
exposed at the next presidential and general elections.
Hence, they have looked into the possibility of convincing the
Elections Commissioner to implement a system enabling Sri Lankan
expatriates to cast votes at future elections so that their vote base
could be increased by even a few thousands.
The JVP’s funding base is their frontline supporters who fled the
country during the 1988/89 insurgency. Most of them live in countries
such as Japan, South Korea, Australia and a few European countries.
JVP affiliate Ethera Api organisation last week announced its plan to
initiate discussions with the Elections Commissioner to implement a
system enabling Sri Lankan expatriates to vote at future elections.
JVP’s Ethera Api Chairman and JVP parliamentarian Sunil Hadunnetti
stated that the aim was to facilitate more than one million Sri Lankans
living abroad, the opportunity to vote at future elections.
“We have already brought it to the attention of the Elections
Commissioner and he seemed to bear a positive attitude about the
proposal,” he said.
Hadunnetti added that they will propose a voting system that could be
activated through diplomatic missions using advanced IT facilities.
“We hope to obtain a positive outcome in this venture that would
enable thousands of Sri Lankans a chance to vote at elections in
future,” he added.
UPFA won’t take UNP’s call lightly
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has said that the
ruling UPFA would not take lightly the challenge posed by the main
opposition United National Party (UNP) to have a national election next
The minister was responding to speculation that a snap presidential
election would be held early next year.
The Economic Development Minister said the UPFA, as a political
party, was prepared for a national election at any time, but did not
give any time frame for the elections which are due only in 2016.
“It is a matter that has to be decided by the President and the
Election Commissioner. But, we, as a party, have positioned ourselves to
face an election.
We are carrying out organisational activities with such an election
in mind. The UNP leadership has also challenged us to hold a national
election. We do not take it lightly,” he said.
Minister Rajapaksa said that the Government not only rescued the
country from the scourge of terrorism but had also raised the living
standards of the people.
“Earlier, people were satisfied when access roads are gravelled.
Today, they expect us not only to carpet such roads but also to
"People now have higher expectations because their living standards
have risen. We have to stand up to the challenge of meeting such needs
of people,” he said Land for votes?
Asian Tribune online newspaper reported that the Tamil National
Alliance has come up with a proposal, ‘Lands for Votes’ in the coming
presidential election and has told the messengers of Opposition Leader
Ranil Wickremasinghe that if the deal is acceptable, they are prepared
to support him in the presidential election.
It is a well-known fact that the TNA exploits the recent situation of
more than 50,000 displaced in the Valikamam area for their continuous
stay in political power in the midst of the Tamils.
The Asian Tribune said that a few Tamil Dispora group in the West
have clearly told the TNA leadership not to render any support to
President Mahinda Rajapaksa at any given time.
Understandably, the LTTE rump is adopting the same stance.
They have also insisted that in any event Northern Province Chief
Minister C.V. Wigneswaran should not be considered as the Common
Candidate for the Presidential Election, and then they must bargain with
the other candidate who comes forward to contest.
A spokesman for a Tamil Diaspora group had told the Asian Tribune
chief that TNA has been told not to render support to anyone blindly, as
they have done in vain to Sarath Fonseka in the last Presidential
Election held in 2010.
The source told that Tamil National Alliance should enter into an
agreement with the Presidential candidate from the opposition regarding
the land issue which affects the IDPs and also of sending the security
forces from the North.
A section of the Tamil Diaspora who met Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchchi
President Mavai Senathirajah, who was in United Kingdom as well as in
Germany, clearly told that rendering support must be based on getting
back lands occupied by the Army and sending the armed forces outside the
It is learnt that this issue is to be discussed at the next TNA
Leaders meeting and a draft agreement of this nature would be prepared
to be given to Presidential candidates who come forward to solicit their
TNA says no discussions yet
But the TNA said last week that there have been no discussions yet
regarding the impending Presidential Election within the alliance.
TNA spokesperson, parliamentarian Suresh Premachandra has said that
the party leaders were yet to decide on the alliance’s stance if a snap
presidential election is declared.
“We have not discussed it within the TNA yet. But what we will be
interested is in the policies that the candidates are going to put
"There are burning issues in the North and East which include the
occupation of land, resettlement and resolving of the problems of
"We will be inclined to support any candidate who will align with
these causes” he was quoted as saying.However, Premachandran was
non-committal on the proposal of a common opposition candidate.
“We must first and foremost comprehend if there is a chance for a
common candidate and if so who the candidate is.
These are issues that we are yet to discuss,” he said.
The Northern Provincial Council, the only Provincial Council not
governed by the ruling UPFA, is held by the TNA.
The TNA supported the common opposition candidate Fonseka at the last
2010 January presidential election.
But despite the support of the main Opposition UNP, along with the
TNA and JVP, Fonseka cut a sorry figure and was comprehensively beaten
by President Rajapaksa.
Fonny to weigh all options
Leader of Democratic Party (DP) Sarath Fonseka has said last week
that he would consider contesting at the Presidential Election, but
would weigh all available options.
But one wonders whether he had meant about his eligibility to contest
after losing his civic rights.
Fonseka says that the UNP National Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe had
requested him to support the UNP in future elections.
But Fonseka has said that he may not contest the next presidential
election if President Rajapaksa contests for another term. The
Democratic Party will consider backing a common candidate but at the
same time, Fonseka fears that would affect his party.
“If we do support a common candidate, it will definitely affect our
So we need to study the possible methodology to develop the party
before backing a common candidate,” he said.
It is an indication that the Democratic Party would not support any
Instead, Fonseka may come forward as the party’s presidential
candidate, if he is legally cleared to contest, pending his civil rights
President to distribute land deeds
More than 19,200 land deeds are to be issued among the people in
Killinochchi at a ceremony to be held today, under the patronage of
President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
According to Sri Lanka Freedom Party Organiser for Kilinochchi
District Geethanjali Naguleshwaran, this is the first time that a large
number of people are assured of their rights to own a piece of land, by
the Government, she said.
She said that the Government is in the process of solving the land
disputes of the people who are living in the Northern Province in a
systematic manner with the proper coordination of District Secretariats
and the Divisional Secretaries.
Meanwhile, Land Commissioner General R. P. R. Rajapaksa said a
special program is in place in the Northern Province to implement the
Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations in
terms of solving land issues of the people in the province.
He said the distribution of land deeds to over 18,000 people will
take place in Kilinochchi on Sunday as part of this program.
“The Government has already settled a significant number of land
disputes out of a total identified land issues amounting to over 200,000
in the Northern Province.
The land disputes of the people who were affected by the conflict in
the North will receive pride of place under this program,” he said.
The Commissioner General added that the land disputes of the people
living in all parts of the Northern Province will be solved gradually.
President in North
President Rajapaksa is spending the weekend in the North,
commissioning several landmark development projects that usher in a new
era for the province that had been devastated by the LTTE terrorists.
Apart from the Northern railway line making its first journey to
Jaffna after LTTE terror and distribution of over 18,000 land deeds to
the people in the North, the President will also open several other
The government will not reduce the quantity of water provided to the
people in Kilinochchi from the Iranamadu tank in the future.
Water Supply and Drainage Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that funds
will be allocated through the Kilinochchi water supply project for the
renovation of the Iranamadu tank bund.
The minister said the people in the Killinochchi district have a
responsibility to protect this tank which has not been renovated for 80
years. Minister Gunawardena said Kilinochchi district parliamentarian
Chandrakumara Murugesu is the only people’s representative in the area
who raise issues faced by the people with the government.
He inspected a water treatment plant, water tanks and pipe laying
activities in progress with officials of the National Water Supply and
Drainage Board and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The minister also held a discussion with the JICA, NWS and DB and
project officials on the progress of the project.
President’s third term, not a major issue for UNP
UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake said last week that the main
Opposition does not see incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa contesting
for a third term at a future presidential election as a major issue.
Attanayake told a media briefing last week that the UNP does not see
President Rajapaksa contesting for a third term as a problem because he
could be defeated by a joint effort of all opposition parties. But
Attanayake did not elaborate how the UNP is going to do that when its
leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is going solo.
He hinted at the possibility of fielding a common opposition
candidate when he said the party had decided to have discussions with
other opposition parties on working out a common agenda.
But Attanayake himself had stated earlier that the common candidate
should be within the UNP as the party accounts for more than 80 percent
of the Opposition votes. Though Attanayake had said that the UNP had
begun discussions with other political parties, the JVP has already
declared that they would not join with the main Opposition to form
alliances or support Fonseka. In this backdrop, what Attanayake says are
mere daydreams to keep the morale of his party supporters. Attanayake
said that any common platform of joint opposition political parties
should be led by the UNP because it had an 80 per cent stake.
However, the UNP General Secretary said any common platform of the
joint opposition should be led by the UNP as the party has an 80 percent
stake in the total number of opposition votes.
Harin bats for Sajith
The newly appointed Opposition leader of the Uva Provincial Council
Harin Fernando seems to have overestimated the mandate he got at the
recent elections, even trying to advocate his party leader Ranil
Harin has said that Ranil should name UNP’s deputy leader Sajith
Premadasa as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate without delay at
the forthcoming Presidential election.
Speaking at a party meeting in Kolonnawa last week, Harin said the
UNP leader should name Sajith as t6he party’s Prime Ministerial
candidate before the Presidential election campaign.
“We are ready to dedicate ourselves to the party if Ranil
Wickremesinghe did his bit and name Premadasa as the Prime Ministerial
candidate,” Harin said.
Harin added that Ranil should hand over the responsibility of
campaign for the presidential election to others in the party including
Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, himself and others as they could ensure
success in the election. One wonders whether this is a plot against the
experienced UNP leader and two-time Prime Minister.
Rajaratnam trial set for early next year
The trial against Sri Lankan-born Galleon hedge fund founder Raj
Rajaratnam for allegedly funding Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger terrorist group
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is expected to begin as early as
India’s International Business Times quoting the law firm
representing the complainants said lawyers are working on the case and
are likely to disclose evidence to be used against Rajaratnam later in
More than 30 Sri Lankans who were victims and survivors of the LTTE
attacks filed a lawsuit in October 2009 against the Wall Street
billionaire Rajaratnam and his father, J. M. Rajaratnam for knowingly
providing financial and other support to the Tamil Tiger terrorist
In a seven-count complaint filed in the US District Court for the
District of New Jersey by the law firm Motley Rice LLC, family members
of those killed and survivors of bombings committed by the vanquished
terror group LTTE alleged that Rajaratnam and the family foundation
headed by his father provided millions of dollars in funds used for
The complaint documents donations from the Rajaratnam Family
Foundation to the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), which is
listed a front organization of the LTTE in the US, totaling well over
US$ 5 million from 2001 to 2007 in addition to the US$ 3.5 million
donated by Rajaratnam.
However, the case has since been kept on hold because of several
Lankans in Italy commend President’s role
Sri Lankans in Italy commended President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his
services to the nation, during his recent visit to Italy and the Vatican
where he met a large number of Sri Lankan expatriates.
The meeting took place at Hotel Cavalieri in Rome last weekend.
The expat Lankans especially lauded the President for liberating the
country from terrorism and establishing peace and stability while
achieving rapid economic progress.
They also said it is now possible for them to visit their Motherland
at any time without any fear.
President Rajapaksa told the Sri Lankan community of the development
that had taken place in the country after he assumed the Presidency
while giving special emphasis to post-conflict development.
“No one is getting killed by bombs anywhere now. Highways which were
only a dream for us before, are now a reality.
"We will soon commence the construction of the Kandy and Northern
highways. Even roads in rural areas are now being improved and carpeted.
"Ninety six percent of the population now has electricity. We will be
able to provide power to the remaining four percent by next year,” the
President Rajapaksa while elaborating on the beautification projects
underway in Colombo and other cities said all shanty dwellers in Colombo
will be given new houses by 2016.
“People in villages now enjoy the benefits available in the city
while seeking to take the best of village environment to the city.
We are confident of the success in Sri Lanka’s journey to being the
Wonder of Asia," he said.